Blog Archives

Exhaustion….The Good and The Bad

Not much time for blogging lately. I miss it but always seem to have about 20 other things going on,even at 4 in the morning.

Being the director and producer of Casa La Crazy has meant at times I feel pulled in a million different directions. So many changes going on,but all for the good. I woke up yesterday in an emotional funk. I wanted to be happy but truth is I was EXHAUSTED!

When someone asked me how I was yesterday and I told them tired they looked at me as if I had sprouted a third eye. Why is it that it’s ok for people to comment to you saying they don’t know how you handle it all,but when you admit every once in awhile(and trust me I must have been exhausted to actually admit I was tired),that you are tired they don’t understand why.

In fact someone actually asked,”Why” yesterday.

Which then makes me feel like I should be able to handle this whole big family life without being tired. I mean we the parents are the ones that chose to have a large family right? So we should be able to handle it all. That’s not always the case. Most the time it is the case,but through different seasons things change.

I know this season of exhaustion is just that…a season. So much is going on and so much is changing.

Things that have happened in the last 4 weeks alone:

- started 3 of the kids in a one day a week parent/public school partnership. Which now means I have to write out their lesson plans,check in with a teacher,and send in monthly progress of our homeschooling. Next year that will be all 6 school age kids.

- Kenna’s surgery. Having a kiddo laid up without two working legs is hard. It is for the best,but it is hard. Thankfully her casts are off and she has walking boots on,but she needs a walker, and it has taken her some time to get used to walking in the boots. She continues to amaze me though at her “can do” attitude. She even told me she was ready to start doing chores again!

- Moving our ducks and chicks outside. This isn’t necessarily hard,just another thing added to the day. Including the part where I had to stop feeding Squishy last week because all 19 birds managed to get out of the fenced area….it was bound to happen sooner or later. I was hoping for thought!

- The great bedroom swap! Oh yes we did it again. Too many girls going through puberty,needing to be alone. Two little girls who still play with toys and live in fantasy lands. Yes we swapped rooms. IT IS DONE and I will not swap again until we move!!! Which by the way I have informed Brandon we’re not moving again EVER. Well unless we buy a house or the owner decides to move back here.

- My mom’s visit. She arrives tomorrow! HOORAY!!! I’m genuinely looking forward to this.

 

So it’s not like all these things are bad,in fact none of them are and I enjoy having them be part of my life. It is just a lot going on at one time. I’m sure I’ll adjust to it all,but in the mean time I’m exhausted. I think it’s OK for all of us to become exhausted once in awhile. It means you’re working hard and hopefully with all your heart.

In fact by the time I adjust,knowing me, I”ll add something new to the mix. So for now….Here’s To Exhaustion!!! I raise my coffee cup to you!

 

Casa La Crazy is Still Standing

I know I’ve written a lot lately about breast feeding and the amazing incredible Ms Squishy. You probably think that she is all that happens around here anymore. Believe it or not I still have 6 other kiddos,one amazing boyfriend(as always),and a house that totally has earned its name. Oh yes it is NEVER dull here at Casa La Crazy.

We have all managed to get back into the swing of things after Christmas and then the great sickness bug of 2013…ohhh dear Lord let that be the only sickness bug we get all year. I swear I felt like the walking dead. Who am I kidding I couldn’t even walk…I was about ready to ask for a bed pan. Even though my kids took amazing care of me while Brandon was at work(Nathaniel even slept on the couch next to me in case I needed help.),I do think they would’ve drawn the line at emptying a bed pan.

I have found time to get back into the kitchen…yeah. Cooking dinners for my family and the occasional hot breakfast,make me happy.

The homeschooled kids are getting ready to study the presidents for a month while taking a break from our Narnia studies.

The public schooled girls seem to have gotten back into the swing of school after a long break.

It’s time for me to start thinking about highschool for Nathaniel next year….GULP….HIGH SCHOOL!!!! Yes he will be homeschooled for it….do I know how yet?Nope not a clue!

The landlord that told us she was going to put the house up for sale at the end of our lease(she tells us this the week after Squishy was born.) has now decided not to sell and we get to keep living here! Yeah for stability!

Since we’re staying we have decided it’s time to get chicks here soon. Yup because like we don’t have enough craziness here let’s add chicks…

And maybe,just maybe, we might be adding a milking goat…..

We will be van shopping here soon! As much as I hate car shopping the freedom of a car that will fit us all will be AMAZING!

We did get our family pics done but never managed to send out the holiday cards we ordered.There’s always next year!

I threw out the idea today that if we DID get a milking goat it would be totally cool to take a picture of me milking the goat WHILE squishy milks me…yeah how’s that for random.

The snow is melting which also means more outside time.

And as always…Casa La Crazy is filled with lots of talking,lots of activity,tons of cuddling,and an overabundance of love.

Seriously,if you’re ever in the area you should stop by and see for yourselves….I’ll even save you my favorite coffee mug.

 

 

Breastfeeding,Homeschooling,and Bonding

This week has been so busy! Not the run around till you drop kind of busy,but the buckle down at home and get back into our studies busy!

We have pulled very full days of school and thankfully we get today off where we get to meet up with some other homeschool families and play. Well the kids will all play,the teen age girls will “hang”,and us mommies will get to sit and breathe for a bit!

It’s also Friday which means it’s time for sisters n’ cloth’s breastfeeding blog hop.

The week’s topic is I breastfeed and……

Well I’m sure you can all guess what I’m going to say. I breastfeed and I homeschool. We started this practice right after we started back to school after baby was born. Homeschooling for the last 8 years I have learned how to adjust to things pretty well.Although I do like to stick to schooling in the morning so I can help my other two with their homework when they get home from school.

My favorite time though homeschooling now that we have baby here is when we start by reading our book. We largely do literature based unit studies and right now are working our way through the Narnia series. So in the morning when it’s time to read. I grab  Ms Squishy get her settled and we read a chapter and discuss the questions,all from the comfort of our couch,before moving on to do the days activities.

Usually,Adrienne falls asleep before we’re done with the chapter and by the time we’re done with questions she is totally out!

Well earlier this week Kenna was giving me a break and when I walked into the living room this is what I found:

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Squishy sound asleep snuggled up to her sister,as Kenna read out loud to her the Guardians of Gahoole guidebook.

These are the moments that I know I’m doing something right…..

 

Not Back to School BlogHop Week 2…Our Classroom

Welcome back for week 2 of the Not Back to School Blog Hop!!!

This week we’re taking a sneak peek into everyone’s school rooms…or in most of our cases what we call “most of the house”

I know a lot of people dream of having a separate room to school in and some families are able to have that and love it. Let me just say though for years I thought that is what I wanted…and then I got it. When we first moved to WA I had a huge upstairs room that connected all of the bedrooms and thought it would be so perfect for a school room. While it was a good room to use I felt so disconnected from the rest of the house and all the things that were going on. Also,the kitchen was downstairs so if I wanted to work on baking or cooking I’d have to wait till after school time was over.
Besides we all missed sitting on the comfy living room furniture for most of our lessons.

Oh well you live you learn.

We now do school the way we’ve done it mostly throughout our homeschool career.Mainly in the dining room,spread out to the living room for reading times and extra rooms.and outside whenever possible! However whatever room you walk into there are traces of us homeschoolers all around.

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(Kenna sitting in the living room studying.)

We did just do the great room switcheroo preparing for baby last week so now we do have a nice little quiet library that houses most of our books(learning or not) as well as a stereo a desk and a big comfy chair. I’m a freak about bookshelves.I believe one cane never have enough bookshelves.

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(sorry about the blur I was in a hurry this morning.)

Our comfy living room area also has a small shelf in it which holds supplies we use almost everyday,pencils,paper,dictionaries,math manipulatives and colored pencils just to name a few.

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This area is in our dining room. The magenta colored crate is used for folders that the kids use to keep their assignments in. They each have a folder for whatever FIAR book we are rowing and then one for the language arts/grammar.

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It is so much easier for them to just grab a previous piece of work from there then dealing with hearing 4 snapping binders all the time.The colorful drawers keep my homeschool lesson books as well as each kids gets a drawer for their silent reading and any smaller workbooks they may have.

But like I said most the time we’re crowded happily around the dining room table….

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(and yes that is a coffee station behind Lane…a must for all homeschool moms.)

Or outside

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Next week it’s School Picture time of the kiddos…this could get interesting.

 

 

 

Not Back to School Blog Hop

Not Back To School BlogHop…Our Curriculum

Yes I know I’ve sort of been MIA again. This morning though I actual woke up at 4 and didn’t feel like going back to sleep so I thought AHA perfect time to blog and not be rushed.

The last two weeks we’ve been doing swim lessons on top of homeschooling which of course have lead to very busy days,as well as my annual,”Yup this is exactly why I homeschool.” reminder.

For the first time ever though I have decided to participate in iHomeschoolNetwork’s Not Back to School Blog Hop.For the month of August each week they have asked us to share a different area of homeschooling. This week is Curriculum week.

Not Back to School Blog Hop

As I’ve mentioned before we’ve already kicked off our school year. This marks our 8th year of homeschooling. 8 YEARS!!!! Honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way. The things we have all learned in these 8 years have been amazing. You would also thing that in the last 8 years I would’ve found one curriculum that I solely loved and stuck to it.

However,for those of you that know me well enough also know that,that is about as likely to happen as me sticking to one hair color.

With baby on the way though, I’ve decided to go back t one of my favorites and most reliable curriculums.

We all love unit studies over here and we also all love a good story so for the last couple of weeks we have been using

Beyond Five in A Row

We are currently reading the Boxcar Children,and in the last couple of weeks have learned how to write a good cliffhanger, have made it rain inside of the house and discussed the water cycle,as well as designed our own drinking fountains. We have also been researching different dog breeds,their positive and negative attributes, and why they may or may not be a good breed for our family(which of course has lead to everyone wanting a dog). We also have learned about different kinds of shelters and even built our own.

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It has been a good curriculum to use with the oldest bonus girl as well since she is home for summer break.Although now she is asking to be homeschooled as well!

As far as math goes the 4 oldest gave delved into the world of Geometry. I am using A Little Garden Flower’s Waldorf geometry for this and all I can say is I wish I would’ve learned Geometry like this! It focuses a lot on the beauty of it before incorporating the angles and shapes of it all.

This is only about a 12 week program so we’ll see what we use next. Although Holly has been using LifePac’s 4th grade math workbooks from Alpha Omega and loving it.

This is our plan as of right now. We will probably take most of September off because of the arrival of Ms Adrienne. This year I really wanna focus on spending time reading together learning some good American History and just growing together as a family.

Stay Tuned….next week I share pictures of our homeschool area….err whole house?

I’m So Not Cut Out To Be a Public School Parent

***Disclaimer – This post does not take either side on the whole homeschool/public school debate. It simply shares my feelings on the subject of being a parent of public school kids.****

 

After this week I have come to the conclusion of two things:

1: I am SO not cut out to be a public school mom

2:I may be a bit of a “control freak”

 

As I mentioned in an earlier post this week it’s Science Experiment week at the bonus girls’ school which means the older grades do a science project than display it.Oh wait didn’t we call those Science Fairs back in the day?Only difference?It’s not a competition like it used to be when we were in school because “GASP” God forbid we push our children to try to healthily compete with other kids.(Don’t even get me started on sports that give trophies to EVERYONE.)

On top of that I’m still adjusting to the whole two kids go to school and learn all day and then come back and most likely only tell me a fraction of what they did in school that day.It is such a weird concept to me not being there constantly while they’re learning so I know EXACTLY what they’re learning.

After homeschooling for 7 years this is a totally new realm and idea to me. I’m used to being the one making the lesson plans and executing the lesson plans. if my kids struggle with something I can take the time to go over a subject again.I rarely have to “consult” with anyone else to figure out what my kids are learning.

So there had definitely been some miss-communication this week between the school,myself, and the kids.Ack just throwing that third person into the whole thing totally throws me off.

Thank God for email.One of the teachers and me have emailed back and forth numerous times to make sure we’re on the same page. The teacher has graciously taken his time to answer any questions and I have done the same for him. I LOVE both of the girls’ teachers they are very lucky to have them. They both really care about their students and education.

Seriously though,the only people I have communicated with this week has been the school and rental places.

Then I got a letter from the school saying it’s parent/teacher conferences soon. We get to make our own appointments…through the internet. Seriously I can barely navigate this blog…let alone setting up an appointment online.

I know there are some people out there that say being a homeschool mom would be hard or they would never have enough patience.

I on the other hand say being a public school mom is hard and I’m not sure I have the patience to be one.

I have always respected teachers in any aspect and give them props.

This week though I definitely give the props to the public school parents out there who make all the extra effort out there as well!

 

Back to the norm….sort of oh and a Q and A for you!

Well life is slowly settling into it’s normal routine back here at the frat house. School has resumed for both the homeschool and public schooled kids. I never thought I’d be the mom who said “I’m so glad the kids are going back to school,” but I say it out of craving the routine more than anything else.

The kids and I are very intensely studying the middle ages and loving it. I can’t believe how much Kenna loves history. The other three are liking it as well but I think she’s been bit by the history bug!

I’m learning that things never really go back to “normal” whatever normal is.

I’m  TRYING to learn how to handle that. I don’t handle change well though.

There are some days I feel like I’m being pulled in a million directions and I wish some people would be a little more understanding of this but there’s not much I can do. Just keep trying to be the best person I can be,along with the best mother I can be.

The kids,B and I have been reading The Lightening Thief for our bedtime story and we only have two chapters left!I’ll be picking up Sea of Monsters today at the library.

Oh and the best part of my days lately? My aunt Nancy got me an MP3 player for Christmas so yes finally again I can have music whenever I want!(I know I know welcome to the 21st century Wendy.)

So if you’ve made it this far into this very mundane catch up post I have something I’ve been wanting to do for you readers.I know I can’t offer a give away or anything that fun. However you have all been so kind to me and such great friends I was thinking about doing an impromptu Qand A with yours truly the Twisted Domestic Goddess.

I thought it’d be a fun way for ya’ll to get to know me a bit better.

So any questions you have for me….anything from homeschooling to umm the zombie apocalypse(although I’ll warn you ahead of time I know very little on the apocalypse.) send it to my email @ twisteddomesticgoddess@rocketmail.com or leave a comment.I can’t wait to see what questions ya’ll have for me! I will answer all questions in this Saturday mornings post.

And now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to try and do my first ever Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop. One of her questions was :Your life is being turned into a movie….who will play the cast? How could I possible miss out on that. I have most other characters already cast in my head except well who in the world could play me?I’m absolutely at a lost here so off I go to do some research!

 

 

 

My Budding Writer….Lane

So I haven’t posted about homeschooling in F O R E V E R !!!!! Mainly because there have been so many other blog worthy things to put onto the internet that I know you are all DYING to know about….(ahem just throw me a bone here)

Yesterday though was a day of proud moments.

You see I have this kid his name is Lane….He’s kinda a big deal but well every once in a while can get shuffled amongst the rest of my kids since he’s like oh the middle child and can be quiet!(Wait Wendy you have a quiet kid?I know right?Who’d a thunk it)

The funny thing is it usually happens at dinnertime. like when we have the twelve places set and I realize only 11 of us are sitting down.

“Ummm we’re missing someone”

“Lane mom,we’re missing Lane.”

Or when he’s standing right in front of me quietly and I ask,

“Where’s Lane?”

“MOM I’m right here!”

argghhh such proud mommy moments I know.

The funny thing while he IS quiet he is also ALL boy. He revolves around all things machine gun,dirt,weapons,and mythical creatures. He isn’t ALWAYS quiet like when it’s time for bed and him and his brother are too busy talking to care.

He’s also 9! Seriously he’s 9!!!! WHEN did that happen?Because it seems like just yesterday I was juggling him as a newborn,his 17 month old sister and a 3 and a half year old older brother while trying to make it up and down our two story apartment.

Sigh….I’ve gotten off track. I’ve been doing that a lot lately but that is a whole other blog post.

OK so Lane has told me he hates writing. He is my one child most resistant to school. He’s great at it but HATES writing. Well and as you know I LOVE writing so I can’t fathom how one of my kids could hate writing. Especially one with such an imagination! He’s been working in this writing workbook though that is pretty awesome. Some of the stuff he has written has turned out really good. Yesterday he had to write a myth and I just had to share it with all of you.

WHY THE SKY IS BLUE

by Lane Miners

The sky is blue because there is a huge blue dragon.When it is raining the dragon is drooling.When there is a lot of wind the dragon is snoring.It makes perfect sense,it’s a dragon a big fat dragon.Sorry Mister dragon.

Ok short and to the point yes/no?

What I love about this is he totally displayed his sense of humor right along with his writing. The boy is more talented then he thinks!

I love this boy he is the perfect part of all boy and momma’s boy.

Last week he had to call my mom and ask her about some popular things and do a Past/Today chart. Ok well the real assignment was ask someone who was alive 30-40 years ago. Before he could do the math I handed him the phone and told him call Grandma on this one. Of course he did the math and just suggested he ask me instead….I insisted Grandma was a better choice.Here’s what the two of them came up with:

Then                                                                              Now

Games                         Monopoly                                                                         Yahtzee Flash

Music                             Elvis                                                                                   Pink (although over the last couple days he’d prolly

change it to Skrillex.Thank you boy cousins.)

Sports                        Bowling                                                                                Soccer

Music Players           Record player                                                                  MP3

Food                            Taco                                                                                      Pizza

communication       House Phone                                                                   Cell Phone

drinks                         Hi-C                                                                                      Pepsi (atta boy)

hobbies                     Model airplanes                                                               collecting bugs

TV shows                  Happy Days                                                                        CSI

Yes my boy put CSI as one of his favorite shows of today….hmmm maybe he’ll grow up and go work for them.

I’m so proud of him and his writing. He’s come a long way from just sitting there pouting because he had to write,to writing willingly and not letting anyone see his work till he’s done.

Yea,I kinda love you Lane!

Music feeds my soul

Some of the earliest memories in my life revolve around music. I can remember being with my Grandpa Bartlett and him singing “5’2 eyes of blue” or even “oh Susannah” I remember Christmas’s with Grandma Bartlett playing the Organ or accordion and all of us singing Christmas Carols. Then as the grandkids got older we all brought our musical instruments to play with her.

I remember car rides with my parents and my dad singing “You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille” although at that time I thought the next line was 400 children and a crop with no field. Instead of 4 hungry children. I remember thinkin…umm that’s a lot of kids. I remember ABBA and Neil Diamond and Foreigner and my mom standing in line in the rain to get tickets for Neil Diamond.

I can recall singing “Satin Doll” at music camp one year and falling in love with some of the Broadway hits. Although I also remember doing a dance routine to Push It by Salt N Peppa in the same year…

In 6th grade a friend and me got dropped off in downtown Spokane for a Great White Concert.Yes 6th grade was my first hair band concert and I remember just being surrounded by a bunch of pot heads but because we were small the “adults” all pushed us towards the front. I still tell my mom ” I cannot even believe you let me go then”

I will admit to being a HUGE New Kids On The Block fan. My parents drove me and 5 other girls 5 hours to Seattle on a school night just to see them in concert.Only to turn around when it was done and head right back home.

I’ve played piano and percussion. I’ve gotten in trouble from my parents for blaring my music too loud.In fact I just had to ask dad if he could keep an eye out for a new stereo because mine is acting funny. I’m sure he’s thinking it’s because I may have turned it up too loud one too many times.

Music feeds my soul. No matter what mood I’m in I can usually find a song to identify with. There is not a day that goes by that some kind of music is played in my household.

So this year for homeschool we’re going to look at all different genres of music. Not only classical,opera,jazz,blues,country but well you can bet I’m throwing in The Beatles,The Rat Pack,Green Day,  Foo Fighters,80′s pop(Debbie Gibson anyone?),even a little Eminem. Why?

Because I want my kids to be exposed to all sorts of music. I want them to be able to find the music that feeds their soul. I want them to (hopefully) feel the same way about music as I do. I want them to have an open mind.I want them to know what was going on at that time not only with music but also in the world and how it shaped music.

This should be a very fun school year.

Our Homeschool Journey Part 3: The World of Unit Studies

When I first started homeschooling just my oldest I thought for sure I’d have a schedule set up for his daily learning.You know how it is 30 minutes for math an hour for social studies,and scheduled recess time. Hmmm just like the regular school setting. Then I began reading a lot. I read on the different styles of homeschooling(you mean there was more than one)? I also started reading about every childs learning style. Then I looked around my living room and realized I may just have 4 little people with 4 VERY different learning styles!!!

Somehow I was lead to the wonderful world of unit studies. I think it was probably through a google search. Now some people might not know what a unit study is. To me it’s the answer to teaching 4 different grades at one time. Unit studies have been such a big blessing in our homeschool journey, we have been able to learn more than we ever could have if I had split up and just done a grade by grade learning style.

For example,right now we’re doing a unit study on Africa.(courtesy of For God So Loved The World http://www.christiancottage.com ) Instead of just learning about Africa in our Social Studies all aspects of Africa are incorporated into all subjects(excluding math although some unit studies you can include math) For instance for science we have learned about the different biomes in Africa. The Savannah,the desert,and the equatorial jungle. For history we have been reading books on missionaries as well as learning about how some countries in Africa were settled by the British as well as other countries. For our english and writing we are putting together an African Safari Guide. It tells a little about each country as well as any animals we have learned about. For Geography we are coloring in and labeling a map of Africa as well as locating all the major deserts of the world. We have even incorporated cooking from the different countries of Africa.All of these subjects center around one theme…Africa!

The beauty of unit studies to me is that I feel you can get more in depth with the one major topic. They tend to be very hands on as well. Also when teaching more than one grade level it is easier to break up. For example,last week we were supposed to map out a week long trip through the desert. As a family, we brainstormed ideas of the things we would need on a week long trip. I then taped the list up on the wall. From there the two younger kids ages third and first grade were told they needed to draw a picture of themselves on the trip and then write down any supplies on the back of the paper. Where as the older two ages 5th grade and 7th had to do the same as well as then track their route on a map, including where they would stop for rests.

One of my other favorite things about unit studies is that the younger students are brought right along for the ride.There have been many years where Holly has sat and listened to the stories and then just drawn pictures while she listened to the older kids answer questions or talk about what we had been learning.

For our family situation unit studies have been the best answer. We did try Waldorf for awhile which I absolutely loved as well. Somehow though we seem to always come back to Unit Studies!

Some helpful unit study links:

www.christiancottage.com

www.aop.com (The Weaver curriculum was the first unit study I ever did)

www.fiveinarow.com

www.homeschoolshare.com  a great site with free unit studies as well as lapbooks!

http://www.AmandaBennett.com This lady has published many different unit studies on everything from baseball to government and then some!

There are many other sites as well out there. My suggestion is if you’re interested in trying the unit study style of learning to purchase a small unit study and try it out with your kids. This summer break is the perfect opportunity to do so.

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